There’s been a major move in the mobile network operator world this week, with Vodafone and O2 announcing that they will share their network infrastructure.
Before customers of said operators start getting too excited, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to roam onto the other network, as is the case with Orange and T-Mobile (under the Everything Everywhere umbrella).
What it means is that the two companies will share towers, masts and other aspects of infrastructure, but will still remain two separate firms, with their own frequencies. The aim is to create one national grid running each operator’s independent spectrum.
It’s good news in that it means the 4G roll out will go ahead more smoothly, and swiftly, with both operators pooling their resources. So that’s a bright spot against all the rather bleak news on the 4G front thus far for the UK, with all previous news being about bickering and delays to the auction process, and roll out itself.
The partnership will be a 50-50 one, with both firms gaining access to a single grid of some 18,500 masts – which will represent a 40 per cent boost in site levels for both operators.
And some of those fresh sites will be ones placed to bring 4G to remote areas, who will fare much better on mobile broadband than with a very poor fixed line connection.
Ronan Dunne, CEO Telefónica UK said: “Exceptional customer demand for the mobile internet has challenged the mobile industry to consider innovative solutions to building a nationwide network that will be fit for our customers in the future and support the products and services that will truly make Britain digital.”
“This partnership is about working smarter as an industry, so that we can focus on what really matters to our customers – delivering a superfast network up to two years faster than Ofcom envisages and to as many people as possible. One physical grid, running independent networks, will mean greater efficiency, fewer site builds, broader coverage and, crucially, investment in innovation and better competition for the customer.”